At the height of Maya civilization (300–900), the primary art form was painting, particularly on ceramic vessels. Painted images recorded historical and mythological events. This vase depicts the outcome of a military battle. Twelve elaborately dressed warriors, many with trophy heads hanging from their waists, surround a bound captive, who has been stripped naked in a humiliating public display. The prisoner's genitals have been mutilated, and as blood drips down he screams in pain, as indicated by the speech glyphs above his head. The mutilation, probably performed by the figure behind him holding an executioner's staff topped by a large, obsidian knife, is a ritual bloodletting offered to the gods prior to the captive's certain death by decapitation.
- Culture: Maya
- Medium: Ceramic, pigment
- Geographical Locations:
- Dates: ca. 550-950 C.E.
- Dimensions: 6 1/4 x 5 3/8 x 5 3/8 in. (15.9 x 13.7 x 13.7 cm) (show scale)
- Collections:Arts of the Americas
- Museum Location: This item is on view in Arts of the Americas Galleries, 5th Floor
- Accession Number: 1998.176.2
- Credit Line: Gift in memory of Frederic Zeller
- Rights Statement: Creative Commons-BY
- Caption: Maya. Cylindrical Vessel, ca. 550-950 C.E. Ceramic, pigment, 6 1/4 x 5 3/8 x 5 3/8 in. (15.9 x 13.7 x 13.7 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift in memory of Frederic Zeller, 1998.176.2. Creative Commons-BY
- Catalogue Description: Polychrome vessel with a procession of warrior figures with trophy heads hanging from their waists surrounding a bound prisoner who has been stripped of his clothes except for a trophy head (possibly a disgraced warrior). The prisoner's penis has been split in two and as blood drips down, he screams in pain (the speech glyphs above his head indicate screaming). The figure behind him holds an executioner's staff topped with a large obsidian knife.
- Record Completeness: Best (91%)